Friday, June 18, 2010

Those Hazy, Lazy Days of Summer...

...remember as a kid, how the summer days seemed to endlessly drag on and on?

Counting down the days till our family vacation and waiting for the 4th of July celebrations to roll around all seemed to take forever

There was nothing to do but wake up to Mr. Sunshine streaming through the bedroom window, the smell of bacon teasing your nose.  You'd soon be rolling lazily out of bed and running downstairs, finding your place at the table ...nothing to worry about except filling your tummy with one of Mom's big breakfasts. 

That's how I started my summer mornings....until I was old enough to earn money! 

Since there were nine of us, I know that summertime wasn't always a grand season for Mom.  Summertime meant school was out which begged the question: what was a woman supposed to do with nine children?

We lived in the city.  No farmland to run around on.  We had "elderly" neighbors.  Time for those daily scoldings from the little old ladies across the fence when a ball accidentally ended up in her flowerbed. 

Five sons alone would be enough to drive any woman crazy.  Boys and boredom are a lethal combination. 

Those were the days when you would leave after breakfast and didn't come home until dinner....except to grab a quick sandwich at lunchtime.  There was ALWAYS some kid in the neighborhood that you could play with...ride a bike with...go to the park with.  All without an adult to watch over your safe keeping.

Where we grew up, having a pool was something only the Rich and Famous of Hollywood had...there were few families that had them.  And we didn't know any of those families.   The city, on the other hand, had a public pool.  It was the place to be...as a kid. 

During the last month of school, we could find Mom scrambling around to have all of our activities lined up.  Back then...it really meant softball for the girls and baseball for the boys topped with a fistful of season passes to the city pool. 

I mentioned way back that my Ester loves to use the word, ginormous.  As a kid, I remember everything appeared as though it was ginormous.  The distance (in walk) to or from the public pool seemed ginormous and we acted as though it would kill us.  And it was only nine blocks.  When I go back for visits now, it all seems so much smaller than what it did way back then.  By the way... those were "small" city blocks, not the "big" city blocks.  

Mom didn't care.  She knew that the exercise was great for us and that added "alone" time for her was even better.  (How wise!) 




She usually gave us a ride there.  Those who were old enough to go alone (or met a buddy there), were piled into the old, brown suburban...ticket in one hand...towel thrown over shoulders...and away we went with just flip-flops on our feet.  She'd drop us off and at the last minute...and after some serious pleading on our end...we each received 25 cents for a snack for afterward. 

Back then you could get some serious snacking in for 25 cents!

It was all perfectly orchestrated.  Mom made sure we were there before it opened, (1pm), so that we had plenty of time to swim...enough time for baby brother or sister to nap...and enough time for her to enjoy a little bit of peace and quiet.

We always had to leave at 3:00pm ~ rest period.  It was like clockwork...she knew approximately how long it would take us to shuffle out...purchase the snacks...and walk home, in packs, with all the neighborhood friends that we had. 


Standing in line, waiting for the pool to open, was a splendid event all in itself.   For every car that pulled up with doors opening, kids tumbling out, (no care seats back then),  was a moment that created a lull...a hush in the crowd of waiting kids in line.   The gibber-jabber would come to an abrupt halt so as to witness "who" was arriving next .

You always hoped not to get dropped off right in front of everyone.  Oh!  How uncool!


Now if you were a little munchkin', you didn't even have a clue that all of this activity was taking place.  It was just background noise for all you cared. 

If you were a munchkin', most likely you remained quiet and just stuck like glue to your older brother or sister, dreaming about swimming your laps and wondering to yourself if  the blessed event finally take place that day?

Dreaming about swimming your laps so you could go past the ropes into....the.deep.end.  Oh....to be able to swim in the deep end....aaawwwweeesome!

There were two lines: boys line...girls line.   Prior to the 1pm bell sounding, the life guards usually came out to grab a snack and would have to walk through the lines.  When the lady life guards appeared...the boys would all stop talking and just drool! 

The girls, on the other hand, had a totally different thoughts running through their heads.  I, in particular,  would imagine how cool it would be to walk in her shoes...to have that little whistle on a string...the one that they would spin ever-so- tightly around their index finger, faster than the speed of light....and then masterfully  have it rewind in the opposite direction...just as quickly. 

 I pictured myself one of those lifeguards.  Sitting high up on my perch and blowing that whistle at all the boys who use to dunk me...splash me...torment me...motioning them to get out of the pool and to take "five". 

...and then I'd get a shove...waking up to reality...having somebody behind me yelling, "Move! Move!  The line is moving." 


The afternoon would come to an end too quickly.  We'd have such  blood shot eyes from the chlorinated water.  After wearing our swim caps, our hair would be a mangled mess.  Each kid would have some sweet snack they were sucking on...and we always shared our money with those who forgot theirs.  We would be dragging our wet towels behind us as we walked in our flip flops the long trek home.  Our only concerns amounted to what would be on the table for dinner that night.

The scenario would repeat itself the next day...and the next...and next.  

Totally hazy, lazy days of summer.  They were just awesome!

P.S.  For those of you who are old enough to remember...these two songs are from the Bay City Rollers...rock on!

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